Beautility a site-specific, durational performance at San Francisco’s City Hall on April 1, 2011, consists of a twenty five minute slow fall down the grand staircase of the historic building, performed in a gown with a long train that slowly unfurls to span the length of the entire staircase.
Meant to be viewed both at close range and from various vantage-points in City Hall’s Rotunda, the performance refers to the statue of the ‘Goddess of Progress’ which stood at the top of the original rotunda, and toppled in the 1906 earthquake, her head lost and subsequently found in the 1970s. The figure’s fall refers to de-stabilization of the outmoded institutions and laws of bygone eras, to the original significance of April 1, a day which celebrates the carnavalesque and to San Francisco’s history as a hub of social change on unstable stolen land. The name Beautility comes directly from a movement in Beaux Arts design from which the current City Hall building rose – a valuing of the baroque and fanciful as components of the useful; of ornament, pastiche, symbol and allegory as integral parts of the official government building.
- Performance: Fauxnique
- Creation & choreography: Monique Jenkinson
- Costume: Mr. David
- Premiere: Rotunda Dance Series, San Francisco City Hall, 2011